Follow along and read about how Ryan spent his final days surrounded by those he loved the most... his FAMILY.

You can follow my blog at: Our life in Letters to Ryan

October 2, 2009

How it all began... PART 2

Ryan was to meet with Dr. Ismail on May 22nd
(from this point on I remember dates to a T!)

Ryan was STILL working on top of all of this and leaving work an hour or two early for these appointments. The Tucson VA podiatry program is awesome! All the attendings and other residents were GREAT with allowing time off and picking up the extra work load. THANK YOU guys and gals!

Going into this appointment, we still believed that Ryan was having side effects from the Humira. You know, the kind that during the infomercial they say, "If you experience x, y and z... PLEASE CALL YOUR DOCTOR" Yes, those kinds. We did know that Ryan had MANY of the symptoms of cancer and that being on all these immunosuppressants posed a greater risk of getting Lymphoma, but we didn't really want to think about that... for NOW, at least.

Well... nothing had gotten better, just worse. We were hopeful that Dr. Ismail would tell us SOMETHING. Since Ryan had been off the Humira for about 4 weeks now, Dr. Ismail believed that all the side effects would be gone, not getting worse. He then did a routine examination on Ryan, since he was a new patient.

Midway through the exam, Dr. Ismail stops and says to Ryan,
"Has anyone ever told you your liver and spleen are enlarged? Because they are very large!"
This was ALL news to Ryan.

Dr. Ismail wanted Ryan to have a CT scan right away to see what was going on. He believed all these symptoms could just be a result from an infection in the liver. So they scheduled the CT scan for five days later, on Weds, May 27th.

By Friday(the 29th) he was so sick, he had to take another day off from work and it was about the time he stopped being able to work. Dr. Ismail wanted him to come in and also so he could discuss the results from the CT scan. This was the first appointment I went to with Ry, and I am so glad I did. During the appointment, Dr. Ismail said Ryan's liver function tests were EXTREMELY elevated, his white blood count was low and then... we were told that some abnormalites were found in the liver and spleen. Although Ryan NEVER had swollen Lymph Nodes, Dr. Ismail thought it could be Lymphoma, BUT that it could also be just an infection. To rule out what it was or was not, he wanted a liver biopsy done and he also wanted Ryan to see Dr. Ahmad, the oncologist in the meantime.

As soon as we heard those words we cried. Dr. Ismail assured us that is could be JUST an infection and not cancer... we needed to rule that out. We left the appointment with SO many feelings and emotions running through both our minds. It was a LONG weekend and we definitely went through a bunch of "WHAT IF" statements...we couldn't help but cry. How grateful we are for a loving Heavenly Father who provided us the peace and comfort that only He could give.

On Monday June 1st, we met with Dr. Ahmad. He said the same thing, that until the liver biopsy was done, there would be no definite answer. He also thought it very well could be JUST an infection in the liver.

We left that appointment feeling more hopeful and ready to have the biopsy done with, so we could get some answers.

Weds June 3rd Ryan had the biopsy done and we were on pins and needles waiting to hear the results. It was a LONG couple of days, but we wanted answers. We wanted to know WHAT exactly was making Ryan so sick. Ryan had a feeling it was cancer...

Dr. Ahmad(the oncologist) called on Friday, June 5th and told us those words nobody wants to hear. I remember when the phone rang, I felt SO SICK to my stomach. Although I couldn't hear what exactly was being said, I could tell from Ryan's face and I KNEW, I began crying. Ryan remained composed during the remainder of the conversation, but it was at that VERY moment our life changed. Ryan hung up and I ran over to him and we cried together. We just held each other and cried, and cried and cried. We realized that many of those "what if's" we once talked about were now a reality.

Dr. Ahmad had told Ryan that he would need to come in on Monday for a bone marrow biopsy. He needed to have the biopsy to find out the exact type of Lymphoma he had and to see if the Lymphoma was in his marrow.

He had the bone marrow biopsy on the Monday June 8th and on Friday June 12 we were told Ryan had T-Cell Lymphoma. He was to be admitted and start chemo on the 15th.

So that was Ryan's roller coaster ride of being sick, being misdiagnosed, and finding out he had cancer.

How grateful we are for Dr. Ismail. He got more done in 2 weeks, then what had gotten done in 4 months. He is a very caring, knowledgeable man and Ryan looks up to him a great deal. Ryan has always said since their first meeting, "I want to be just like Dr. Ismail. He is the best Dr I have EVER met!" He has a great bedside manner and he knows his stuff. He is well respected in the medical community and is very good at what he does. Thank you Dr Ismail.


THANK YOU to everyone that has helped us along this journey.



webster said...

Thanks for sharing. So excited to see you guys!

Seth and Julie said...

Crazy stuff. I think we have all played the "what if..." game but to actually face this trial must be so far beyond anything we can imagine. Thanks again for taking us there.

We love you guys!!!

Tornado Alley said...

I could not help crying when I read this post. I cannot even imagine how hard this must have been for your family. Thanks for sharing and we're praying that Ryan had a better weekend.
With love,
The Varela family

Kristen Ann said...

Wow, keep being strong! I know each day must be so hard. Life is such a blessing and I thank God every night for allowing me another day to be alive. I hope and pray the worst is behind you. Thanks for sharing all of this. I check everyday and wish I could do something more than leave these messages. I really feel for you guys. Keep up the Fight!

Jared & Courtney Jackson said...

I'm sure there aren't many dry eyes when reading these posts. It was good to hear about the beginning of your journey and fight. What a challenging time! Your love and determination are so inspiring to me! I am so amazed by your drive and how happy you look day to day. KEEP UP THE FIGHT!

Jacob & Amanda peters said...

you guys are truly amazing. I am so sorry that you have had to face such difficult trials. I am just glad that you have the knowlwedge of the gospel and his plan for us all, to help you get through this. I am strengthened by your examples of love and faith each day and we will keep you in our prayers.
with love,
the Abaroa-peters family

Kim Harris Thacker said...

You guys have been through so much. Thank you for sharing all of this with us--I know my family's lives have been changed by reading about your faith and your strength. We are always praying for you.

Heather n Ryan said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. You guys are so strong, and if anyone can pull through this, you can! We admire all you are doing for him Margie, and your strength and determination Ryan. You are still and always in our prayers! GO TEAM RYAN! We are pulling for you!

Anonymous said...

Ditto to all that has been said!

Melissa Hartung